By Charmayne Gien-Rule
Back in the early ’90s when computers were first becoming mainstream and I was a budding graphic designer, I was tasked by my then employer to create a slide presentation using a relatively new software called PowerPoint. The process was clunky and frustrating, and the choices were minimal. But I remember being excited about the possibilities this new tool afforded and have been working in PowerPoint ever since.
PowerPoint has come a long way since its inception, yet, despite its persistence as the number one choice for slide presentations, its best practices remain elusive. As a member of the creative team at ECi Software Solutions, I work on most of our presentations, ranging from a few, simple slides to lengthy and detailed charts and graphs. Following are my top 6 recommendations for conducting optimum presentations.
Nowadays, stock photography is relatively inexpensive and sites such as istockphoto.com allow you to purchase photography and illustrations for a relatively nominal fee. Trust me, it’s worth the added expense, as good art and photos make your slides far more emotionally engaging. Of course, you’ll need to be cognizant of how to best use imagery so text that is overlaid is still readable, and so that images aren’t stretched or squashed. If you’re going to overlay text and aren’t versed at manipulating images, choose a simple image that will allow your type to “pop,” so light against dark and vice-verse.
Take-away? Create simple slides that complement your presentation. Keep the bells and whistles to a minimum and use lengthy written explanations and bullets sparingly. Use colors and fonts consistently, and choose images that help tell your story and allow your type to “pop.” Most importantly, remember that Your audience will thank you.